Schram City Village Board Talks UTV Ordinance

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Members of the Schram City Village Board held a public hearing regarding the Rebuild Illinois public infrastructure grant prior to their regular monthly meeting Monday evening, June 8, at the village hall.

The village will apply for $591,500 in Rebuild Illinois infrastructure grant funds to construct phase I improvements to existing water distribution, including replacing old cast iron 6-inch water main. The project will begin at the intersection of School Street and Route 16 to the Big 4 into Kortkamp. According to Village President Albert Oberle, residents in the Kortkamp addition thought they were experiencing water leaks during fire hydrant testing as a result of no water pressure. He said phase II is expected to be funded by future DCEO and IEPA loans.

Upon entering into regular session, a resolution committing resources from the village water fund to use in conjunction with the Rebuild Illinois grant was approved. Funds used will equal 4 percent of the estimated project cost at $615,524.

The un-annexation of the property adjacent to Eagle Zinc–which Hillsboro was hoping to incorporate into their upcoming industrial park–was met with some hesitation this month and after some discussion, trustees made a decision to leave the 7.9 acres in village limits.

A new one-year water contract with the village’s certified water system operator, Roger Fath, was approved. Fath agreed to serve for the remainder of the year and village employee Scott Spencer will succeed him following completion of certification. Oberle said included in the contract is the option to void at a later date.

In a grant update, Oberle advised that the village will be applying this fall for another DCEO grant to help fund the water project. The board approved the contractors payment #3 application for phase I in the amount of $258,066.12.  Additionally, Oberle said CDBG Small Business Stabilization Grant applications were currently being processed and he hopes the village hears back next week.

An ordinance regarding the use of non-highway vehicles within village limits will be prepared following a lengthy discussion amongst the board, attorney Alicia Granito and resident Ron Snoddy.

The village president contacted the Illinois Municipal League, who will be sending the board liability information and a sample ordinance. According to IML, allowing such vehicles would not raise insurance costs, however, in the event an accident resulting in death occurs and claims were filed, it could increase.

Oberle said he was not against the ordinance, but shared concerns with residents driving on county and state-owned highways and pulling out in front of vehicles. Trustee Pat Rhoades inquired about who would be conducting inspections, with Oberle stating a resident shared interest, however, Hillsboro Police Department conducts the city’s and how he would consider utilizing them for the village.

From a liability perspective, Snoddy wondered what the difference between a car wreck versus UTV accident is. Granito advised UTV accidents may be more expensive damage-wise, but otherwise there is no difference.

“My biggest issue, and I hate to divide the village, but my biggest issue is the people in Schram City trying to get to Hillsboro because they’re going to get on Route 16,” said Oberle. “I’m worried about safety.” He also noted its illegal to ride on Seven Sisters and Fillmore Trail.

Snoddy said the vehicles are equipped with turn signals and tail lights, and Rhoades asked if riders are required to hold a driver’s license and if seat belts were featured, as well as other safety factors.

As part of the ordinance, Granito advised that ATVs will not be allowed, however, it includes all terrain vehicles, golf carts, off-highway motorcycles, motorized wheelchairs and recreational off-highway vehicles. The attorney will prepare the ordinance and provide the board with Illinois vehicle code laws for a decision at next month’s meeting. 

In other news, board members will review the tentative budget ordinance for the fiscal year, which began May 1, and will make a motion next month. Oberle also mentioned that the city of Hillsboro sprayed for mosquitos last week and would possibly spray again next week. While the board did not receive another proposal from John Masten of Masten Mosquito Control, Oberle said he will reach out to him again.

Village employees are presently trying to catch up with mowing and Rhoades asked if they can mow near the curve. Oberle said the state owns that land, however, they will mow it once they’re caught up. 

After meters are read, employees will begin patching roadways. CTI is now building and there are several locations placed and Trustee Kelvin Stewart asked if the company will be fixing holes on the sides of the roads. Oberle said he will contact them.

Following some complaints about water and piping, Snoddy questioned if the board would consider allowing animals back into the village and if so, what kind. The board agreed to review the ordinance and consider zoning certain properties for residents wishing to own animals.

In a few final notes, a decision regarding the annual Fall Festival will be determined next month and if the event is cancelled, the board hopes to offer a small celebration when restrictions are lifted.

Trustee Jerry Woods commented that delivery trucks are travelling down alleyways and running over curbs, causing damage. Additionally, a resident requested an ordinance be established prohibiting grass clippings on roadways. Oberle said its a hazard for motorcycles and proves to be an issue for drains, and an ordinance will be presented at next month’s meeting.

The village reminds residents that fireworks are not permitted within village limits and Oberle will contact the police department to advise them of such.

The next regular monthly meeting will be conducted Monday evening, July 13, beginning at 6 p.m. at the village hall. 

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